Anthropology and Ethnology Open Access Journal (AEOAJ)

ISSN: 2639-2119

Review Article

The Rockaway Years: Social Class, Sibling Relations and the Structure of Everyday Life

Authors: Roberta Spalter-Roth*

DOI: 10.23880/aeoaj-16000138


This article extends the definition of social class by examining interlocking systems of oppression and domination. The systems of oppression include gender and class, while the system of domination is white privilege. By telling the story of food in the everyday lives of three white working class Jewish sisters, their husbands, and their children during summers in Rockaway, Queens, between the war years of the 1940s and the suburbanization of the 1950s. Their relationships provided a day to day structure for the three sisters and their families, with sibling ties contributing to family survival strategies but, at the same time, reinforcing inequalities. Along with a broader view of social class, we add experiences such the lack of boundaries, the division of labor, reciprocity, the intra-family pecking order, and the reproduction of the next generation to the story. The story is not based on interviews with the three sisters, who are all deceased. Instead, it combines theory and context as well as memories of daily life during this period by the children of the three sisters.

Keywords: Life; Sibling Relation; Family; Social Class

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